Q:

How do alligators breathe underwater?

A:

Quick Answer

Alligators actually don't breathe underwater. Though they can stay submerged for long periods of time, they must eventually surface to breathe through the nostrils on their long snouts.

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How do alligators breathe underwater?
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Full Answer

Among the many successful adaptations that have allowed alligators to remain largely unchanged over thousands of years is the ability to stay submerged for more than an hour at a time. This ability is aided by the alligator's heart, which slows down when the animal submerges, allowing the body to use oxygen more efficiently. Not breathing in water is essential to the alligator's survival. In fact, this large reptile has adapted nose flaps that clamp shut and block water from entering when the gator dives underwater.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long do alligators live?

    A:

    According to LiveScience, American alligators can live up to 50 years in the wild. The American alligator can grow to lengths of up to 20 feet and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. On average, male alligators reach 11 feet, while females approach 8 feet.

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  • Q:

    How do alligators reproduce?

    A:

    Alligators reproduce via internal fertilization, mating at night and eventually laying 35 to 50 eggs in a small pit, which is then covered with a nest of decaying vegetation. About five times as many females are hatched as males after an incubation of 65 days, with the sex of offspring determined by temperature rather than genetic differences. The mother guards the eggs and digs them up as they begin hatching.

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  • Q:

    What are some facts that are all about alligators?

    A:

    There are two alligator species: the Chinese alligator and the American alligator. Alligators generally do not attack humans, but they go on the offensive when threatened or protecting their eggs and young.

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  • Q:

    Where do alligators live?

    A:

    American alligators live in the southeastern portion of the United States, with largest populations residing in Florida and Louisiana. The Chinese alligator is native to China.

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